International Women’s Day is celebrated yearly on March 8, and this year we’ve chosen to recognize and applaud the amazing accomplishments of Carolyn Savage—a strong, determined woman in our community who recently was featured in an Oklahoma State University podcast about her role on the OSU Board of Regents. Below is a short recap of their conversation or you can listen to the full episode here.
Early beginnings at USC
Carolyn was raised in Oklahoma City and was a student at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) from 1949 to 1953. She studied a major in Elementary Education and after graduating, she worked as a substitute teacher while her husband served in the Armed Forces.
She recalls the student union building as one of her favorite memories at Oklahoma State. In 1950, she moved in and would quickly find herself at all the dances and sports events spending time with friends. She added, “It was one of the most modern, well thought of student unions in the country and it had a hotel in it also.”
Joining the OSU Board of Regents
While at an alumnus luncheon years later in the 1970s, Carolyn mentioned being surprised when asked to join OSU’s Board of Regents. She attributed this to her involvement in agriculture at the time and how much she had contributed to assisting the organization.
Carolyn later accepted the invitation and went on to become the first woman to serve in the role. She served a total of two terms from 1977 to 1992. Her duties included liaising with the bankers and managing the ranch books. Speaking of her time on the Board she said, “I was given the opportunity and I consider edit a wonderful opportunity to learn more about ranching and more about being a member of a Board.”
Fulfilling her role as a Regent
Serving as a Regent, Carolyn highlighted support for the president as one of their most important roles. She remembered when Title IX was passed, a law enacted to prevent gender discrimination in the United States educational athletic system, and their efforts to make it a reality at OSC.
“Women had equal access to all the facilities that the men had. They had their own dressing rooms and a fine program with track and field. We really had a great women’s golf team and played basketball,” she said.
The accomplishments of strong, determined women
During her term, Carolyn also recalled the 8 years of hard work by the team to establish a medical school for humans at OSC as they already had a college for veterinary medicine at the time. She praised the initiative also highlighting it as the former place of study of the current president and first woman to lead the OSC, Kayse Shrum.
Comparing the first woman on OSC’s Board of Regents and the first woman to lead OSC,Meghan asked Carolyn for her reaction to the news of the newest president of OSC. She said, “It’s exciting to think that a woman has all these honors and has gone through med school and won all these honors even before she became president. I’m sure she’ll bring many more new ideas and new functions with the way science is progressing.”
In 2000, Carolyn Savage was awarded the Edna May Phelps Award for her contribution in going above the call off duty as it regards the OSU library. Describing it as “the heart of the campus,” Carolyn is proud to have witnessed and contributed to the development of the library.
Carolyn’s love for OSC is evident through the joy and fondness with which she speaks of her experiences and time on the Board. At Montereau we’re delighted to recognize her as one of the strong and successful women in our community.
April 21, 2022